A new University Policy and Procedure Statement is under review to outline rules regarding animals in university buildings and facilities in order to promote safety, health and hygiene on university property.
Rickey Lattie, University Police Department Captain, said The Animal on University Property UPPS came about after it was noted there was not an actual policy dealing with animals, but rather rules scattered throughout residence life contracts and student handbooks.
Bill Nance, vice president of finance and support services, said complaints regarding animals, particularly dogs, in buildings began to pile up about a year ago. He said people complained they were tripping over dogs in buildings, and that animal hair and dander was contaminating university labs.
“Most recently I had gotten a complaint from custodial that they had to clean up dog poop in university buildings,” Nance said. “We don’t pay those people to clean up dog poop. Since we were getting complaints from either people getting injured or having their work messed up, it should be beneficial.”
Russell Clark, Environmental Health, Safety and Risk manager and director, said there have been instances where dogs became aggressive and either nipped people or engaged in fights with other dogs.
Clark said animals exempt from being banned from academic and university buildings include service pets, those used for university research, along with rescue and K9 dogs. Other exemptions include University President’s on-campus house and certain animals owned by faculty and students who live on campus outlined in residence life codes.
Lattie said if there is an event held on campus with animals present, the director of the facility where the event is held will be financially liable for any potential damages.
For animals kept outside of university buildings, the policy will adhere to the City of San Marcos ordinance.
Lattie said the city ordinance requires owners to clean up after their dogs and keep them on a leash at all times.
The potential UPPS was reviewed by, Environmental Health, Safety and Risk Management, the Office of Disabilities, the Office of Housing and Residential Life and the Health Department. The final draft will be sent to the President’s Cabinet for approval. Students will be able to access the final UPPS on the Texas State website.
Lattie said violators of the policy, once approved, will be asked to remove the animal or be punished at the discretion of the appropriate dean or department.
“Procedurally, we are already doing a lot of this,” Lattie said. “In a lot of areas you are not going to see a change other than it finally being written down.”